For April Plan I want to continue working on the film I have been theorising for the most part of the quarantine so far.
Above is a sort of sketch for the middle segment of the film in which I will be using the interviews with creative students.
The first segment is going to look at an archival connection between the history of the quarantine, the history of perceived ‘creativity’ and the the shifted dimensions of video games.
The final segment is hopefully going to look at institutional shifts in more established creative practices (museums, galleries, orchestras etc), but to a degree I think I might hold off on this segment until after the semester is over as a still need to conduct interviews with respective parties/get interviews at all.
So this small scab like looking scar (not super obvious) sits on my right wrist right next to the jutting out wrist bone, but acts as a hallmark of a moment of raw stupidity fuelled by a small amount of 12 year old anger.
I went on a school trip to France during the final term (I was living in England at this point) of my Middle school. There was an agreement overall that the students weren’t allowed to use their phones, but the tone set by the school wasn’t that it was for our well being and health to enjoy the outdoors but rather to prevent contact with unnecessary parties. So my 12 year old brain decided halfway through the trip to try to email (because that was the only function by iPod Touch had to communicate) my parents and say everything was fine. Now, the internet at this little French hotel was so awful from my hotel room that I had to precariously lean out my window in order to get even a minutiae of connection. But lo and behold as I lean out the window who should also be leaning out their window but the teacher who was staying in the room next to us. Ensue awkward exchange of glances, a retreat into my room and a knock on the door. My iPod was taken, much to my behest and confusion considering other people’s blatant use of their devices throughout the trip. However, the real cherry on the cake was the somewhat ludicrous speech our assistant headmaster gave the next morning about his outrage over device use. This speech was of particularly note because he was clutching my iPod as he was giving it, waving it back and forth like some form of conductors rod of middle school student rehabilitation. My name was at no point mentioned in said speech, but I was particularly sullen and outraged throughout most of it. And this outrage fed into my stupidity.
The next day we headed to a little water park about 30 mins from the hotel. My dejected form taunted by the battery of technology usage around me on the bus ride over. Finally getting changed and proverbially leaping for joy at the prospect of a water park where I could just let go for an hour or two and forget about my 12 year old woes, I dived hands first into a pool meant to catch you from a slide. Now, these pools aren’t meant for swimming but rather are to curb your momentum from the water slide, and as such was really only 2 feet deep. Well I noticed this mid dive, and turned slightly to my side, catching most of my momentum on the wrist (enter scar) and side rather than right on the noggin. It is also important to note that the bottom of these little pools are purposefully roughed to make sure you have enough grip to stand up and get out without slipping. Good for not slipping, but also good as an abrasive. It is also worth pointing out that blood plus swimming pools equal big health and safety no no, so when I noticed what I had done to myself my responsible brain kicked in and immediately went to a teacher to get fixed up. Fortunately they possessed the ultimate solution to a 12 year old’s stupidity in the form of waterproof bandaids (after a generous amount of dabbing at said wound and letting it dry) so I was still able to enjoy the water park a little.
However, the real cherry on the cake was that as we were leaving the park our assistant headmaster went up to me, gave me my phone and with a particular tone of pity in his voice said ‘you’ve been well behaved, here’. So all in all, an okay day.
BONUS MYSTERY SCAR
I legitimately have no idea how I got this scar.
I woke up one morning this semester, did my morning routine and sat down at my desk and as I sat down I noticed pain in my upper right arm. Sure enough I rolled my arm meat over and saw that I had a fairly small, thin and long cut along my tricep. After a couple of days I noticed that the scab looked particularly like a zipper which was kind of curious.
Fortunately I was able to go out on a walk on Saturday afternoon in the woods of Connecticut and stumbled upon two things:
1.) These wild foam patterns on top of a stream. I’m used to seeing it be clumped together in a corner, but the flow around the rock meant that they made these pretty interesting patterns.
2.) These leaves which absolutely flabbergasted me. There was a bunch of them stuck to rocks along the route in multiple places and I have no idea how they’re remaining where they are, but they’re particularly crispy and act like very very thin potato chips.
I’ve been working on a zoetrope with 3d printed lithophanes (3d prints thin enough to shine a light through so that you can see an image) for my Sculpture After The Internet Class and I would like to expand it for this second project. The way the motor is set up I believe I can attach a centre point so that I could have multiple of these zoetropes running off the same motor, ie have lots of loops in sync. With this in mind, I’m pretty interested in the idea of the body as loop (the current iteration has me jumping as it’s framework) and so I would like to have multiple zoetropes with multiple body loops (walk cycle, swinging arms, jumping, rolling on the floor etc) running at the same time.
2.) Love in the Motion Capture Century
Largely inspired by Ayako Kanda and Mayuka Hayashi’s x-ray portraits, I would like to create a series of either animations or still portraits using couples in the motion capture studio. I am particularly interested in how the system is going to figure out the space/blocked sensors between people and whether or not they’ll turn in a symbolic digital blobs under these conditions. [I also want to expand these into large scale/human scaled silk screen prints given the time] // [Could also try to incorporate parallel DepthKit recordings and map the motion tracking to them? Not sure how to technically do this]
3.) Disney’s brain is in a jar
Using photogrammetry (and indeed it’s capability and need for surface) I want to create a series of prints that will essentially make a pseudo 3d model of a human head. This would be silkscreens on a series of plastic sheets to build up a 3d form through looking through them. I am particularly interested in how it is going to negotiate the space inside the form, and indeed dialogue over capturing the inside of bodies through technologies meant for the surface of things.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the footage used, they are the property of the associated film studios listed below:
The Godfather (1972)- Paramount Pictures, Raging Bull (1980) – United Artists, The Matrix (1999) – Warner Bros., Whiplash (2014) – Sony Pictures Classics, Jaws (1975) – Universal Pictures
For my Typology machine I wanted to explore Walter Murch’s theory (as proposed in his book In The Blink Of An Eye) that if a film captures its audience that the viewers will blink in somewhat unison. Taking this, I expanded it and asked a series of questions:
1.) Will the audience blink in unison?
2.) Does Genre/The content of the film affect the rate at which people blink?
3.) Are there specific moments/edits you would expect the viewer to blink on?
4.) To what extent can the frames that one misses when one blinks summarise the watched scene?
How did I do it?
Using Kyle McDonald’s BlinkOSC, I set up as below (just in a different space):
I had four participants watch the footage for me. These four cases were all recorded in the same room, I was sat on the same side of the table as them about 3 feet down so that they couldn’t see my screen but so that I could see the monitor and make sure the face capture was stable. I had Blink OSC modified so that whenever the receiver monitored a blink it would save a PNG of the frame at that instance they blinked, on top of this I had another version of the receiver going which oversplayed a red screen whenever someone blinked which was screen recorded.
I had the viewers watch 5 clips in this order:
1.) The opening sequence of The Godfather (1972) (WHY? This was edited by Walter Murch, so as to test Murch’s theory on his own work)
2.) The montage sequence from Raging Bull (1980) (WHY? Raging Bull is largely considered one of the best edited movies ever (according to a survey by the Motion Picture Editors Guild) and I chose this montage sequence not only as a very specific kind of editing, but also as a kind of editing that is fairly familiar to people (the home video))
3.) The bank sequence from The Matrix (1999) (WHY? A very action heavy scene with not only person but environmental destruction)
4.) The ‘Not Quite My Tempo’ sequence from Whiplash (2014) (WHY? Not only a very emotionally heavy scene, but also a scene from a contemporary movie lauded for its editing)
5.) The shark reveal scene jump-scare from Jaws (1975) (WHY? A jump-scare, and another movie lauded for it’s editing)
They watched these will slight breaks in-between (time not only for me to setup the receiver for the next scene, but also for the viewers to somewhat emotionally neutralise).
Firstly: Will the Audience blink in Unison?
The short of it: no.
At no point in any of the five clips did I have all 4 people blink together, I had a couple instances of doubles. I sorted these out by editing the videos into a 4 channel video and then scrubbed through for all the instances overlapped blinks happened. [The videos are too large for this website but they will live here for interested parties.]
Does Genre affect blinking?
To crutch the numbers on this:
For the Godfather I had an average of 109 blinks, over a 6:20 minute video = 0.29 blinks per second
For Raging Bull I had an average of 48 blinks, over a 2:34 minute video = 0.31 blinks per second
For the Matrix I had an average of 79 blinks over a 3:18 minute video = 0.4 blinks per second
For Whiplash I had an average of 80 blinks over a 4:21 minute video = 0.3 blinks per second
For Jaws I had an average of 17 blinks over a 1:24 minute video = 0.27 blinks per second
From this I can make the somewhat tenuous conclusion (I need to do the actual mathematics) that Action does indeed cause us to blink more.
Are there specific moments or edits you expect a viewer to blink on?
I would hazard a tenuous no.
The ‘jump-scare’ from Jaws:
The chair throwing scene from Whiplash:
While in this second case it is harder to distinguish an exact moment, I feel that the communal (/only 2 real responses at a time) is somewhat of a factor in deciding that there is no definitive communal moment when everyone blinked.
Summarising the scenes?
Now we get into a much more subjective domain. The below gifs are from all the collected blink frames.
We can conclude a individual’s sentiment of what was missed:
The shared communality of what is missed. (These are all presently different speeds, but I will re-edit them later)
On top of this, we can also scale this up to the original frame rate, which at a level explores notions of linearity and indeed the functioning of our eye.
Then there is a collectiveness of individual viewed content that I feel also spells a potentially interesting discourse in comparing our individual collectiveness of what we view through what we missed.
1.) I had the stark realisation after I had recorded all my content that all of the clips I choose were predominantly male filled. Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull) and Verna Fields (Jaws) were both the main editors of their respective movies, but I feel this isn’t enough of a hallmark to balance it out. As such more varied/inclusive content rage should be a must going forward.
2.) This also in turn spells an interesting notion towards different contents of drama that might be worth looking at, ie how different kinds of emotion might affect how we blink.
3.) I feel more abrupt jump-scares would be worth looking at/Horror as a genre overall. The jump-scare itself has evolved a fair amount through time, and the contemporary horror might be worth comparing to older horror.
4.) All of my clips were viewed on a monitor and in singular format and then compared. While more indicative how the impact of how technology has affected how we view film today, I feel the idea of the group aura that is a part of viewing film in a cinema is worth looking at. This would entail a much more large scale capture, and mostly like a re-orientation of the technology I use.
I find at certain levels of Zylisnka’s article a clear stating of the obvious that I feel, while important in raising awareness, don’t in my mind present anything that is all that new. For example, this notion of the “Nonhuman photography” being “very dependant on the human element” is somewhat of a circular argument with regards to the human extraction of this photography for the sake of viewership. There is an undeniable element of the human in extracting work for viewing, with the subjective framework of curation connected to this.
The sentiments of the capture of the past and future of humanity, however, I feel is an altogether much more interesting lens of argument. I couldn’t help but feel a strong connection to the notions of science fiction in reading this article, particularly in relation to both Asimov and Heinlein. The idea of posting a system of conceptual and moral discussion such as Asimov’s laws of robotics lens towards this greatly, with regards to a system of moral capture that evolves through time. In my mind, this lends well toward the ongoing development of photography, with the idea of capturing the development of a medium by using that medium itself a powerful parallel to much of human endeavour. [Therein however lies the darker overall message of article in it’s presentation of the human impact on the natural world, as presented in the before and after of us. ] In relating this to the notion of the algorithmic photography, technology is undeniably continually providing “new questions” and indeed new solutions. I say technology primarily as a method of extrapolating away from photography, in my mind within this discussion photography is applied technology, with the novelty of the medium cast away for the sake of capture.
With regards to nonhuman photography I have encountered, Véronique Ducharme’s Encounters is a work that I connect to. Using “a remote motion-detecting hunting camera that uses heat to trigger the photographic exposure” Ducharme creates a series of animal portraits which seek to subvert the natural photographer. While this not only documents, in my eyes, a more accurate depiction of the natural world, it also plays with the notion of the hunting camera as a tool to photographically capture these animals rather than lead to their untimely deaths, subverting the initial expected use of the technology.
For my photogrammetry still life I recorded my sunglasses, with the cleaning cloth draped over it. I was very pleased with how the fabric turned out, but unsurprisingly the transparency of the sunglasses/lens didn’t come across and left somewhat of a hole.
I brought some ground up coffee from a bag which I consume everyday to the SEM. From the Millimetre scale it looked as expected, with the structures forming cave like forms. However, when I got to the nanometer scale things became much more interesting. With the fibres of the coffee clear, and due to the heat of the electron microscope, as the image was rasterising the sample would move resulting in the wavy images below. This notion of capturing movement in a static image I was very much excited by (evident in the fact that the most part of my images were of this).
When I commented on the fact that they looked almost like hair, I was informed that the structural differences in them were very apparent, wherein human hair is almost a scalelike structure, whereas plant fibres are more regimented and neighbour to neighbour.
I find in the mentioned “impulse” to measure photographs an interesting dilemma. At one level I view photographs as an entirely subjective medium, much in the same way that science is fundamentally biased and yet still offers an understanding of our world, but there is level of objective truth to them, or at least there once was. Scale and form, fundamental principles of photography and film, form what I believe to be the basis of this measurement, but in many ways the impulse to measure these fills inapt to me largely because their own nature is a subjectively framed through the eye of the photographer. Taking this, and applying it to the Typology, conceptually I feel the typology is a facet of organising these subjective approaches. Much in the way that these typologies act out as machines that repeat the same task, the typology is a repeated subjective framing. There is little to no objectivity in the typology, with the capturer using the capturing as a kind of sausage machine to produce the typology.
My own notion of a scientifically reliable capture was somewhat distorted after visiting the SEM, with the physics involved in it becoming all the more pressing and present. The reading highlighted this quality a little, but I find in the contemporary setting of 3d scanning and the like, the notion of being confined to the 2d image with regards to 3d space still felt exceptionally stifling. However, what I did find intriguing was the idea of being able to capture movement in the 2d image, since the rasterising allowed for the moving sample to be captured. To me, this spells the interesting dilemma between objective and subjective capture, wherein the purposeful use of objective physics translates into a subjective desire to push the notion of an image to its periphery.